“The endeavor of meditation is a utilitarian endeavor. It is to know the truth of one’s own internal processes”

From: Meditation and Consciousness: A Dialogue Between a Meditation Teacher and a Psychologist – An Interview with Shinzen Young by Charles T. Tart

Shinzen: Actually, I would say from my experience that, in meditation, we just want to be more clear about what seems to be real. So, in a sense, the distinction between fantasy and actuality is not so important.

Charles: You just made thousands of philosophers roll over in their graves!

Shinzen: From my point of view, the process of meditation is not the same as the endeavors of philosophy or of science.

The endeavor of meditation is a utilitarian endeavor. It is to know the truth of one’s own internal processes. Even if those processes are “illusory”, you strive to have more knowledge about the specifics of the “illusion”. Meditation has a goal: that goal is to allow a person to experience the mind-body process without feeling limited by and trapped within that process. It’s not to find some kind of cosmic truth outside of whatever truth you need to know in order to be a free person.

In meditation you are simply observing the mind and body as it is experienced in the moment. If they happen to be lost in illusions of different sorts, then your job is merely to trace, in real time, the course of the illusion, to experience its comings and goings, rather than try to get rid of it. At least that’s one approach to meditation.

So “mindfulness” is a first axiom. A second axiom is the axiom of “equanimity”: that it is desirable not to grasp or block the flow of the mind-body process. Our ordinary tendency is to grasp or block, to fixate or freeze the on-going process of consciousness, and that is what brings us a sense of limitation and suffering.

So we sit down and we begin to observe, to develop heightened clarity. and we make a conscious effort to be, moment by moment, as accepting of this process as possible.

A third axiom is the axiom of “realization”. It states that when we meditate in accordance with the first two axioms, important transformations will take place within us. These will culminate with some very dramatic experiences which represent permanent transformations, such that we no longer feel trapped in the mind-body process. Therefore we will realize an abiding, constant sense of freedom and fulfillment, which is independent of conditions and circumstances. (read more)

Another post on Beyond Meds that features Shinzen Young:  When things are most challenging, we have great opportunity to heal and become whole

You can also find Shinzen delivering dharma talks on youtube.

And this is his website and this is his blog.

Books by Shinzen Young:

●  The Science of Enlightenment

●  The Beginner’s Guide To Meditation

●  Break through Difficult Emotions

●  Natural Pain Relief: How to Soothe and Dissolve Physical Pain with Mindfulness (I first discovered Shinzen, many years ago now, with his work with pain…good stuff)

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters